Wal-Mart's decision could be the final nail in the coffin for HD DVD

The HD DVD Promotional Group is going to have a hard time recovering from today's announcement from Wal-Mart. The enormous retail giant announced on its Check Out blog that it has chosen Blu-ray as its high-definition platform of choice.

The company says that HD DVD players and movies will continue to be sold at its stores through the spring of 2008. However, the retailer will no longer carry HD DVD merchandise once the month of June rolls around. From June on out, Wal-Mart will only stock Blu-ray players and movie along with traditional DVD players and movies.

"Not sure of the short term pricing plans, but history tells us that as more people move to a new technology prices typically go down," said Susan Chronister, a buyer in the movie category for Wal-Mart. "So... if you bought the HD player like me, I'd retire it to the bedroom, kid’s playroom, or give it to your parents to play their John Wayne standard def movies, and make space for a BD player for your awesome Hi Def experience."

It appears that the writing is on the wall for HD DVD and the HD DVD Promotional Group -- the loss of Wal-Mart is huge blow.

This latest news from Wal-Mart comes just days after Netflix announced that it would abandon HD DVD altogether and Best Buy announced that it would give Blu-ray preferential treatment in its stores. Following the announcements from Netflix and Best Buy, the HD DVD Promotional Group could only muster the following:

We have long held the belief that HD DVD is the best format for consumers based on quality and value, and with more than 1 million HD DVD players on the market, it's unfortunate to see Netflix make the decision to only stock Blu-ray titles going forward. While the Best Buy announcement says they will recommend Blu-ray, at least they will continue to carry HD DVD and offer consumers a choice at retail.

Strangely enough, Michael Bay predicted that Wal-Mart would "go blue" following Warner's decision to side with Blu-ray. "Blu ray is just better. HD will die a slow death. It's what I predicted a year ago. Now with Warner's down for the count with Blu Ray, said Bay in early January. "That makes it easier for Wal-Mart to push Blu Ray. And whatever Wal-Mart pushes - wins."

More recently, Bay proclaimed "I told you so" with regards to the sharks circling the struggling HD DVD format. "Am I thrilled? It really wasn’t my fight, but remember what I said in the press? I was kind of saying HD [DVD]’s going to lose," Bay remarked. "No one believed me."

The HD DVD versus Blu-ray battle was fun while it lasted, but it looks as though we can all finally sit back and relax as the Blu-ray library expands while the remaining studios switch from "red" to "blue".

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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